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Meta Faces 11 Complaints Over AI Data Use Without Consent, Potential EU Privacy Violations

On June 5, Meta Platforms faced 11 complaints regarding proposed changes in using personal data to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models without obtaining user consent, potentially violating European Union privacy regulations.

The privacy advocacy group None of Your Business (NYOB) urged national privacy watchdogs to take immediate action against Meta’s changes.

Complaints were filed in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Spain.

The complaints argued that Meta’s new privacy policy changes, effective June 26, would permit the company to use years of personal posts, private images, and online tracking data for its AI technology.

Due to the imminent changes, NOYB requested urgent reviews from data protection authorities in these 11 countries.

According to NYOB, Meta’s updated privacy policy claims a legitimate interest in using user data to train and develop its generative AI models and other AI tools, which can be shared with third parties.

This change affects millions of European users, making it impossible for them to remove their data once it’s in the system.

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NOYB has previously filed multiple complaints against Meta and other Big Tech companies for alleged breaches of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which threatens fines of up to 4% of a company’s global turnover for violations.

Max Schrems, founder of NOYB, highlighted a 2021 European Court of Justice decision on this matter, stating:

“The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has already made it clear that Meta has no ‘legitimate interest’ to override users’ right to data protection when it comes to advertising… It seems that Meta is once again blatantly ignoring the judgments of the CJEU.”

Schrems contended that it’s unreasonable to place the burden of privacy protection on users.

The law requires Meta to obtain explicit user consent, rather than offering a hidden and misleading opt-out option.

He emphasized that Meta must ask for permission directly if it wants to use user data. Instead, Meta has inappropriately made users request exclusion from data usage.

In July 2023, Google faced a similar lawsuit after updating its privacy policy, accusing the company of misusing large amounts of data, including copyrighted material, for AI training.

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